The Alexandrian

I’ve been meaning to give Lawrence Watt-Evans a try for a long time. Last week the stars finally conjoined in such a way that I found myself with a copy of Nightside City clenched between my fists.

One sleepless night later the novel had been devoured and I had come to one simple conclusion:

Nightside City is an unsung masterpiece.

This book stands somewhere between Neuromancer and Snow Crash, and deserves to be as well-known as both. Lawrence Watt-Evans crafts a riveting tale which is one-half cyberpunk and one-half detective noir, with strong dashes of hard SF sensibility, insightful characterization, and tight plotting thrown in to spice the mix.

The world in which the novel takes place is not only immediately memorable for its unique conception (a city in a crater on the dark side of a planet, slowly revolving into the devastatingly deadly rays of the sun), but also deeply immersive as a result of the loving detail Watt-Evans flawlessly weaves throughout the story.

The plot is a tight, fast-paced mystery told with all the style and aplomb of a Chandler – although I’d recommend skipping the back cover text on this one (my edition calmly summarizes the first half of the plot and removes most of the mystery).

In case I haven’t made myself clear, this one comes highly recommended.


Lawrence Watt-Evans
Published: 1989
Publisher: Foxacre Press
Cover Price: $13.50
ISBN: 0970971117
Buy Now!

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